AmericanFarm.com

Field day in S.W. Virginia to showcase precision farming

By JANE W. GRAHAM
AFP Correspondent

BLACKSBURG, Va. (Sept. 20, 2016) — A field day at Virginia Tech’s Kentland research farm is planned for Oct. 12 to introduce people who farm in the hills and valleys of Southwest Virginia to the methods and tools of precision farming.
Morgan Paulette, Pulaski County Extension agriculture agent, said most precision farming is done in relatively flat land with large fields.
It has not had as wide an adoption on the terrain of Southwest Virginia but he said he sees potential for some methods and tools being beneficial to farmers in his area.
Virginia Tech faculty, Extension staff and commercial sponsors are expected to provide insights into the use of these new technologies.
The all-day event will begin at 9 a.m. and end with a producer panel in the afternoon with three or four producers sharing their experiences with precision agriculture technology, what tools they use on their operation and why and how it has benefited their operation.
Agriculture companies and precision agriculture service providers will supply the tools and machinery for inspection and demonstrations, Paulette said.
Dr. Wade Thomason, Virginia Tech Extension small grains specialist, is expected to address the topic “There’s a lot of Gadgetry Out There! What Does It Do?”
He expects three demonstrations and small-group seminars to be held in the morning and three after lunch.
Equipment will be displayed in the machine shed and big barn.
The demonstrations and small group seminars will include three demonstrations in the morning and three after lunch, 25 minutes each.
These will include discussion of equipment, guidance systems and planters, with a crews from Hoober Inc., and the Kentland farm crew; forage by Meade Tractor; and a discussion of “data to Information” by Brad Mathson of Southern States. 
The cooperative’s Dave Swain and Lane Grow will also be discussing satellite imaging, yield data, and how it can benefit corn, hay, and pasture.
Another highlight will be a drone demonstration near the end of lunch by Kevin Kochersberger, Virginia Tech mechanincal engineering professor. A drone landing strip is located at Kentland near the barn.
While the field day is planned for farmers in the New River Valley and surrounding counties, Paulette said everyone is welcome, including farmers from neighboring states who work with similar terrain.
Farmers with questions can call Paulette at the Pulaski County Extension Office, 540-980-7761.